Return to:   (Excerpted) History of Fort de la Présentation
Source of the following excerpt:

The British Army implemented a numbering system in 1751 to reflect the seniority of a regiment by its date of creation, with the King's becoming the 8th (The King's) Regiment of Foot in the order of precedence. The beginning of the Seven Years' War, which would encompass Europe and its colonial possessions, necessitated the 8th's expansion to two battalions, amounting to a total of 20 companies. Both battalions formed part of an expedition in 1757 that captured Ile d'Aix, an island off the western coast of France, as a precursor to a planned seizure of the mainland garrison town of Rochefort. The 2nd Battalion became the 63rd Regiment of Foot in 1758 and would not be replaced until 1804.

When the regiment augmented the Hanoverian Army in 1760, the 8th King's had its grenadier company committed to the battles of Warburg and Kloster Kampen. As a complete regiment, the 8th served at Kirch-Denkern, Paderborn, Wilhelmsthal, and the capture of Cassel.

The role of the 8th (The King's) Regiment of Foot
in the American Revolutionary War (17681785)
The regiment arrived in Canada in 1768 and had its ten companies dispersed to garrison isolated posts on the Great Lakes: Fort Niagara (four), Fort Detroit (three), Fort Michilimackinac (two), and Fort Oswego (one). As the battalion's deployment appeared to near completion, protests in the eastern colonies began to intensify, evolving from vocal concerns about self-determination and taxation without representation to rebellion against Britain in 1775.

During its posting, the 8th King's possessed a number of officers adept in cultivating a relationship with tribes on the Great Lakes, the most notable being Captain Arent DePeyster and Lieutenant John Caldwell. Later to become 5th Baronet of County Fermanagh's Caldwell Castle, Caldwell immersed himself in his efforts to foster understanding between the British and Ojibwa, reputedly marrying a member of the tribe and becoming a chief under the adopted name of "The Runner".

In the west, Captain DePeyster's negotiations proved instrumental in maintaining peace between the British and tribes such as the Mohawk and Ojibwa nations. Born into a prominent New York family of Dutch origin, DePeyster held authority over Fort Michilimackinac. In 1778, using £19,000 of goods as leverage, he arranged for more than 550 warriors from several tribes to serve in Montreal and Ottawa.

Location of 8th Foot during the American Revolution
The invasion of Canada by American generals Richard Montgomery and Benedict Arnold began in mid-1775. By the end of November, the Americans had captured Fort St. Jean, Montreal, and Fort Chambly, and besieged the city of Quebec. An attempt to storm it in December resulted in Montgomery's death. Reinforcements from Europe raised the siege in May 1776 and expelled the almost starved and exhausted Americans from the area. The only significant battle the 8th Foot participated in followed the ending of the Quebec siege.

From Fort Oswegatchie, Captain George Forster of the regiment's light company led a composite force, including 40 regulars and about 200 warriors, across the St. Lawrence River to attack Fort Cedars, held by 400 Americans under Timothy Bedel. Forster maintained illicit contact with occupied Montreal, and received intelligence of American troop movements using Indian operatives and de Lorimier.

Arriving at the fort on 18 May, the British briefly exchanged fire before Forster parleyed with Bedel's successor, Major Isaac Butterfield, to request his surrender and warn him of consequences should Indian warriors be committed. The commander, whose men had been seemingly distressed by an earlier display of Indian war chanting, expressed a willingness to do so on the proviso of being allowed to retire with his weapons - a condition that Forster refused.

Butterfield conceded the fort on the 19th on the day an American relief force of about 150 resumed its advance on Cedars, having previously reembarked aboard bateaux because of exaggerated scout reports.
Once he learned of the column's presence, Forster had a detachment ambush the Americans from positions astride the only available path through the forest. The relief's commander, Major Shelburne, surrendered but the battle infuriated the Indian contingent as the Allies' only fatality was a Seneca war chief. Forster managed to dissuade them from executing the prisoners by paying substantial ransoms for some of the captives as compensation for the loss.

Emboldened by the two victories, the British landed at Pointe-Claire, on the Island of Montreal, but withdrew after Forster established the strength of General Benedict Arnold's force at Lachine. In pursuit of the dwindling column, Arnold pursued the British using bateaux but was deterred from landing by Forster's placement of men along the embankment at Quinze-Chênes, supported by two captured cannon pieces. Both Arnold and Forster postured, each threatening the other with the prospect of atrocities: the killing of prisoners by Forster's Indian allies and the destruction of Indian villages by Arnold's men. Having agreed favourable terms to a prisoner exchange with captives Butterfield and Shelburne, Forster's conditions were accepted by Arnold on 27 May, with the exception of Americans being forbidden from serving elsewhere. The decision would be denounced by the US Second Continental Congress and the arrangement reneged upon under the pretext that abuses had been committed by Forster's men.

In late July 1777, the regiment contributed Captain Richard Leroult and 100 men to the Siege of Fort Stanwix. Commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Barry St. Leger, 34th Foot, the force consisted of approximately 1600 men, comprising British (100 8th, 100 34th) Canadian (65-100), German (350), Loyalist (400) and Native American (700) troops. At the Battle of Oriskany in August, Chief Joseph Brant's men and the King's Royal Regiment of New York intercepted American reinforcements for Stanwix, inflicting more than 400 casualties, including General Nicholas Herkimer. The fort itself was heavily defended and newly repaired and prepared for a siege, while the besiegers numbers were insufficient and their artillery of an inadequate calibree. During the time the ambush was taking place, a sortie by from the forts defenders swept out unopposed capturing much of the Loyalist and Indian camp and supplies. A few weeks later the siege collapsed with the disappearance of the dis-spirited native allies.

The regiment took part in further actions at Vincennes and the Battle of Newtown (Elmira, New York) in 1779, as well as the Mohawk Valley in 1780 and Kentucky in 1782. Captain Henry Bird of the 8th Regiment led a British and Native American siege of Fort Laurens in 1779. In 1780, he led an invasion of Kentucky, capturing two "stations" (fortified settlements) and returning to Detroit with 300 prisoners.